Lomatium (Lomatium dissectum)

Lomatium (Lomatium dissectum)

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Known by the titles ‘Fernleaf Biscuitroot’ and ‘Desert Parsley,’ Lomatium is a perennial native to western North America. It is often found in high deserts, and its thick taproot allows the plant to withstand drought conditions, browsing, and wildfire. The first part of this plant’s name, ‘loma,’ is Greek for ‘border,’ and refers to the small wings of Lomatium’s fruit. 

Indigenous people have been using Lomatium medicinally for centuries as a general cure for common ailments, and particularly one for small skin irritation, stomach and respiratory issues. Indigenous tribes in the American Southwest used the root of Lomatium as a treatment during the 1917 Spanish Influenza, as it was also shown to be useful in an antiviral application. The Okanagon, Shuswap, Nlaka’pamux, and Lilloet people used Biscuitroot as a food crop, both raw, cooked, and dried. However, there is not much current research determining the safety of medicinal or edible function of this plant. Bees, particularly mining bees, are pollinators especially attracted to Lomatium.